Writing a screenplay is a tricky art that dances a fine line
between painting an elaborate new world for your reader,
and at the same time, avoiding over-writing.
Even in dialogue, writers must learn to be
incredibly economical with every single word.
Unless you are writing and directing your own film,
you want to be careful not to over-direct or
micro-manage the direction in your action lines.
What are action lines?
Practically everything except dialogue.
So when the script describes something like
the characters walking down a street,
or even emotional reactions from characters,
all of that is considered "action".
One prime example of writing too much
action would be most every Quentin Tarantino script.
As a new writer looking to learn screenwriting,
or hoping to just sell scripts and not film them yourself,
these are NOT good screenplays to mimic.
Why does he get away with it? Two reasons:
1) He's famous 2) He's a writer/director
But naturally with any film (dare I say all films),
what gets recorded will not be 100%
word-for-word of what's in the script.
This is why you need to learn to trust
your actors and director, and do your
best to set up your script for success.
Scripts need a certain amount of breathing
room, room for interpretation, and room
for allowing your actors to act.
(What a concept!)
Check out this video below which shows
a side-by-side comparison of the script
for The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
to the final product of the movie.
This is a great example of how an otherwise
simple screenplay can be interpreted
and improvised by a great actor,
and turned into a fantastic, powerful, and moving scene.
Notice how Heath Ledger takes his actions
way beyond what the script describes,
and even reworks the dialogue to fit
the character and scene more appropirately.
Do you have a short script you'd like to film?
Stop by GRTV or check out our website for
more information on becoming a CMC member
and getting certified to checkout equipement.
Already have a finished video? Air it on GRTV!